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Obsessed
Author: Ivy Smoak

 


PART 1

 

 

Chapter 1


Tuesday

I stepped out of my car into the falling rain. Some days were hard. I was used to that. This happened to be one of those days. The kind that just kept getting worse. I sidestepped a group of students walking on the sidewalk and my foot landed in a puddle.

For fuck’s sake. What was I doing here? I loved teaching. But I could teach anywhere in the world. What the hell was I doing in Newark, Delaware? It was a question I kept coming back to. Being here was supposed to make me happy. At first it did. I settled into a routine that worked for me. But now? It felt like I couldn’t breathe.

I shook the water off my shoe. It was the first day of classes and I had slept through my alarm. That’s why I was in a bad mood. It had nothing to do with Delaware. Or the rain. Or the lack of meaning in my life.

Get a grip. In fifteen minutes I’d be teaching my first class of the semester. I wasn’t sure I had ever enjoyed anything more than teaching. Why couldn’t I just focus on that? But instead of feeling excited, I felt empty. A feeling that I was all too familiar with. I’d felt empty pretty much my entire life. But I didn’t understand why I had the feeling again now. I had everything I wanted. Finally. Why didn’t my brain understand that?

I needed coffee. That would fix my mood. I was just tired. I hadn’t slept well since the summer semester let out a few weeks ago. Having no obligations was something that people usually looked forward to. I wasn’t one of those people. Vacations weren’t something I looked forward to in the slightest. I needed constant distractions, not time to let my mind wander.

I was exhausted. That was it. A coffee that I didn’t have time to grab would certainly fix all my problems.

“Hi, Professor Hunter,” a girl said and waved as I walked past her. The girl next to her puckered her lips and gave me sex eyes.

I didn’t have time for this. I was used to the attention around campus. Although I tried my best to ignore it. Or at least shut it down as fast as possible. “Have a good first day of classes,” I said without even really looking at them and then continued walking. Last spring I had been pretty sure one of my students was stalking me. I almost had to file a restraining order. Not engaging was for the best. Besides, it took too much energy to try to be nice especially when I was in a foul mood. And I seemed to always be in a foul mood recently.

“You too, Professor Hunter!” she said from behind me. The other girl giggled.

I sighed and didn’t turn back around. I had no interest in dating my students. And they clearly didn’t know anything about me, or they’d be running in the opposite direction rather than batting their fake eyelashes at me. Despite what my brother thought, hooking up with a co-ed was not why I took this job. At all.

I pushed through the door of the little coffee shop on Main Street.

The door slammed into someone, splashing coffee down the front of her… I swallowed hard. For just a moment I was transfixed by the droplets of coffee that cascaded down her chest, disappearing beneath her tank top. But then I heard the thud as her cup landed on the ground and it pulled me out of my trance. Just as I was about to force my eyes to her face, she started to slip. I grabbed her waist to prevent her from falling.

"I'm so sorry. Are you alright?" I asked. I took in the flush of her cheeks. The way she melted into my arms. And the fact that she didn’t look up at me at all. Her eyes were firmly rooted to the ground.

"I'm fine,” she said. “It wasn't hot anymore."

I wanted to ask her why she was carrying cold coffee around, but I bit my tongue. It wasn’t any of my business. I should have immediately stepped back, but I couldn’t seem to drop my hands from her waist. And the more she melted into me, the less I wanted to let go. Look at me. She kept her attention on the ground. The blush of her cheeks intensified the longer I held her. I had no desire to ever let her go. I leaned in a little closer. She smelled like something floral that I couldn’t quite pinpoint. But I had a feeling that I could figure it out if I got even closer.

The buzz of the coffee shop eventually registered in the back of my mind. People would recognize me here. Did she recognize me? I slowly let my hands fall from her waist, wishing that I didn’t have to. "I'm afraid I've ruined your shirt." Stop staring at her chest.

She stepped back and spread her hands over the stains on her blue tank top, clearly not realizing that she was basically feeling herself up in front of me. And I couldn’t peel my eyes away.

"Oh, crap, I have an 8 a.m. I don't have time to change,” she said in almost a whisper.

I couldn’t bear to watch her flounder. Even if I did find the blush of her cheeks intoxicating. "Here.” I put down my satchel and pulled off my sweater. It was too hot today for it anyway. I didn’t realize it outside, but the coffee shop was certainly stifling. Fortunately I was wearing a dress shirt underneath my sweater. And just like this girl, I didn’t have time to go back and change either.

"That's okay. I can't take that.” She laughed but it sounded forced. "I'll be fine." She stepped to the side so I could pass. Her cheeks flushed even more when I didn’t move.

She was finally looking at me. I could have gotten lost in her blue eyes. And her red hair was calling for me to sink my fingers into… Breathe. I looked at her backpack. She had just mentioned having an 8 a.m. She was clearly a student. "I insist. First day of classes.” I shrugged. "You'll want to make a good first impression."

She took the sweater from me. "Thank you.” Her voice was so quiet.

I studied her as she pulled the sweater over her head. Her thin waist dipped down to a luscious… What the hell was I doing? She’s a student. Luckily the sweater covered her ass so I had to stop staring. Her eyes met mine again. And then it was like she couldn’t look away. Like she couldn’t manage to look anywhere but at me. For just a moment it felt like we were alone. The coffee shop disappeared.

"I'm sorry, I have to go, I'm going to be late,” she said.

I wanted to ask for her name. For her number. Anything. But I pressed my lips together so none of what I was thinking would come out. There was nothing to say. I was a professor. She was a student.

She smiled and then walked out of the coffee shop. I stared after her. My baggy sweater, a pair of black leggings, and bright red rain boots. She somehow made the combination look like the sexiest thing in the world.

I shook my head, dismissing the thought. But it was hard to forget that for just a moment, while she was in my arms, it had been easier to breathe.

 

 

Chapter 2


Wednesday

It had been another restless night. But for once, I wasn’t plagued with thoughts of my past. My dreams had been consumed by the timid redhead from the coffee shop. All I could focus on was the blush of her cheeks and those bright blue eyes.

She wasn’t necessarily an undergrad. She easily could have been a grad student. Or maybe she didn’t even go here at all. She could have been on her way to work. But who referred to going to work as having an 8 a.m.? And only students carried backpacks.

Grad student. That’s what I was hoping for. The possibilities didn’t matter in my dreams, though. I dreamt about wrapping my fingers in her hair and guiding her lips to my…

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